Local and National Programs

Local Organizations and Programs

Loose Parts Nature Play. Children are invited to engage in unstructured outdoor play, with a collection of nature materials, either as a one-time activity or materials that are left onsite. The materials feature such local natural items as bamboo poles, sticks, tree cookies, pine cones, shells, and palm fronds. Loose Parts, Nature Play encourages children to build anything—teepees, tunnels, fairy houses, art sculptures and other play structures. The only limit is the imagination!  Click here NaturePlay Flyer for a detailed description of our Nature Play Program for Schools, Community Fairs, Educational Events, and the like.  Slides from recent presentation that describes the Nature Plan Program, Nature Play Presentation.

San Diego Chapter of the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

At Home in Nature Outdoor Preschool, San Diego, CA.  At Home in Nature programs give children the opportunity to learn through their senses and through the natural process of discoveries. To know and understand their world, children must have a chance to have blocks of unstructured time in nature. Teachers observe and record what children are interested in and will support those interests by providing materials, information and tools to extend on their learning where needed or desired. More information at www.athomeinnature.com.

Rooted in Place Landscape Architecture and Consulting, San Diego, CA.  Ilisa Goldman and Rooted in Place provide programming, facilitation, and design for outdoor environments, with a focus on connecting users to the natural world through design. The firm specializes in creating children’s healthy outdoor play and learning environments in institutional, commercial and residential settings, and in educating parents, educators, and policy makers about the values of natural settings.  Trainings, workshops and presentations offered to those interested in creating outdoor play and learning environments or incorporated nature based play and learning into existing settings.  Contact Ilisa Goldman at moc.ecalpnidetoornull@namdlogi.  Recent interview at Building Healthy Habits with ACE Youth and Family Experts.

Link to resources for designing nature spaces for unstructured outdoor play

National Organizations and Programs

Green Hearts: Institute for Nature in Childhood, Omaha, Nebraska.  Green Hearts is a nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to restoring and strengthening the bonds between children and nature. Nature Play ideas for early childhood.

Natural Learning Initiative, North Carolina State University (NCSU). Founded in 2000 to promote the importance of the natural environment in the daily experience of all children, through environmental design, action research, education, and dissemination of information, is a research and professional development unit at the College of Design, NCSU.  www.naturalearning.org   The NLI GREEN DESK is a resource for early childhood educators, childcare providers, administrators, and professionals seeking the latest information to create high quality, healthy outdoor environments for young children.

Growing Up WildProject Wild offers workshops and resources that focus on young children’s sense of wonder about nature  Growing Up WILD is an early childhood education program of Project Wild that builds on children’s sense of wonder about nature and invites them to explore wildlife and the world around them.